The Phono Project

Exploring the history of the groove

“Irene Goodnight” – Huddie Ledbetter

You’re listening to “Irene, Goodnight” by Huddie Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly or the king of the 12 string guitar.  Lead Belly was probably best known for “Irene, Goodnight” during his lifetime, although it did not become commercially successful until after his death when it was covered by The Weavers. The Weavers’ cover is notable because it eliminates some of the darker lyrics, like the closing lines “If Irene turns her back on me/I’m gonna take morphine and die.” Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra and many others covered the song, but because their covers were based on The Weavers,’ not as many people know about its darker aspects.

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